Every week becomes remarkable for some new discoveries and achievements, triumphs and falls. Ukrenergo review pays a great deal of attention to all news so that our readers stay up to date with the latest energy news.
Make yourself comfortable and enjoy the weekly world energy outlook:
1. European Commission launches the Energy Poverty Observatory (EPOV). On January 9, 2018, the European Commission has launched a brand new initiative – the Energy Poverty The Observatory serves as an on-line platform to disseminate information, good practice and facilitate knowledge sharing about the energy poverty among the stakeholders. The tool will also promote public engagement on the issue of energy poverty, reasons of its appearance and solutions. As of today, there is not any clear notion of the “energy poverty” however, it primarily concerns the households, which pay too much for the energy supply or have troubles with paying the utility bills on time. All in all the new observatory will come in hand to the third Energy Package especially to help the vulnerable consumers within the European energy markets. The EU countries presume that the best way to fight the energy poverty is develop the renewable energy sources, to promote the market integration and to enhance the energy efficiency in general: decarbonizing the economies of the member countries, energy innovations, reduction of the energy price, etc. It may come to our mind the problem of the energy poverty is mostly widespread in the developing countries. However, that is not the case. The European Commission estimated that more than 50 million households in the European Union were struggling to attain adequate warmth, pay their utility bills on time and live in homes free of damp and mould. The numbers are high. However, we do support the EPOV will attain its goal and improve the situation.
2. Tesla is to create the world`s largest “virtual” power plant. Elon Musk, main newsmaker of this week, surptised all the world by launching the Falcon Heavy however, he surprised the energy sphere as well. The news concerns the commissioning of the world’s largest battery in the world situated in the Southern Australia. The state will open up the program to 50,000 homes in the state whereas each home will be connected to solar panels and the Tesla Powerwall 2 with a capacity of 13,5kWh installed on rooftops. The government will own the equipment, and residents will pay for the usage as they did before. Those who don’t consume all the energy produced by their solar panels can feed it back to the grid, and those who consume more can take extra from the grid. If all goes according to plan, the state would have, in effect, a distributed power plant that can produce 250 MW of power from rooftop solar panels and store 650 MWh of energy in Tesla batteries. The government will invest around A$800 million ($635 million) to make it happen. Frontier Economics estimates that the state will save about A$180 million in electricity costs, because of increased competition and a more stable grid. Starting now, about 1,000 homes in public housing will receive Tesla batteries connected to solar panels installed on rooftops. The capacity of the “virtual” power station will be attained in 4,5 years. The facility will ensure up to 20% of the daily energy needs in the Southern Australia.
3. Engineers create plants that glow. Illumination from nanobiotic plants might one day replace some electrical lighting. The engineers of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have taken a critical first step toward making that vision a reality. By embedding specialized nanoparticles into the leaves of a watercress plant (Nasturtium officinale), they induced the plants to give off dim light for nearly four hours. They believe that, with further optimization, such plants will one day be bright enough to illuminate a workspace. This technology could also be used to provide low-intensity indoor lighting, or to transform trees into self-powered streetlights, the researchers say. The researchers have previously designed plants that can detect explosives and communicate that information to a smartphone, as well as plants that can monitor drought conditions. Lighting, which accounts for about 20 percent of worldwide energy consumption, seemed like a logical next target. To create their glowing plants, the MIT team turned to luciferase, the enzyme that gives fireflies their glow. Luciferase acts on a molecule called luciferin, causing it to emit light. Another molecule called co-enzyme A helps the process along by removing a reaction byproduct that can inhibit luciferase activity. The MIT team packaged each of these three components into a different type of nanoparticle carrier. The nanoparticles, which are all made of materials that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies as “generally regarded as safe,” help each component get to the right part of the plant.
4. Cargo ships with solar panels. Japanese company Eco Marine is to equip ocean-going cargo ships with rigid sails embedded with solar panels. They will allow the ships to take advantage of both wind and solar power at sea. The EnergySails can be stowed during rough weather to avoid damage from wind and waves. The company proposes to combine its EnergySails with solar panels mounted on the hatch covers of large bulk carrier ships into what it calls an “advanced integrated system of rigid sails, marine-grade solar panels, energy storage modules, and marine computers.” The work is part of the Aquarius MRE project, which is a collaboration between Eco Marine Power, KEI Systems, Furukawa Battery, Teramoto Iron Works, and ship owner Hisafuku Kisen. During 2018, Eco Marine Power will conduct a feasibility study that involves several large bulk carrier ships. The study will estimate the amount of propulsion energy the EnergySail arrays could provide on various routes and the total amount of solar panels that could be installed on each ship. After the study is completed, one ship will be selected for installation of a complete EnergySail system. That ship will then test the system during sea trials lasting 12 to 18 months. Coastal and ocean going cargo ships are major sources of global carbon emissions. Anything to lower their environmental impact will be welcome. Beyond territorial waters, ships are virtually unregulated and free to ignore governmental directives and emissions policies. Only if renewable energy reduces costs for shipping companies, will they invest the money needed to convert ships to low emissions strategies. If the data collected by Eco Marine Power can promise such reductions, interest from the shipping industry will increase dramatically.
5. African Development Bank wants to grant 29 m Africans with electricity. Under its agenda “Light up and power Africa” the African Development Bank plans to reach 29.3 million people in Africa with electricity by 2020. This was recently disclosed by the president of the institution, Akinwumi Adesina at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Adesina pledged support for the ‘new way of working’ as crucially important and indicated that it requires a new way of tackling development issues. Moreover, the African Development Bank is today at the forefront of investing in renewable energy in Africa. The institution’s support for 2017 alone provided 3.8 million Africans with access to electricity. And with adequate financing, they expect to reach3 million people with access to electricity between 2018 and 2020 Hence, Adesina has called on the UN secretary-general to join him in supporting the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility to also work differently, and step up support to co-pay for climate risk insurance for vulnerable African countries, noting that African countries, hit by climate change, are hard pressed to find funds to pay the insurance premiums. The Desert to Power – an initiative spearheaded by the development bank aims to turn Africa’s deserts into new sources of energy, by working with partners to develop 10,000 MW of solar power systems across the Sahel. The initiative is expected to provide electricity to 250 million people, with 90 million of these provided through off-grid systems.